Can Boris still get his deal through and what happens if he fails? JASON GROVES looks ahead to another seven days of Brexit drama
One of the biggest parliamentary weeks in decades could determine the fate of Brexit. Here Political Editor JASON GROVES looks at what might happen.
Can Johnson still salvage his deal?
Yes. Mr Johnson recalled Parliament to try to force MPs to make a decision on his Brexit deal. His efforts were scuppered when MPs voted instead to force him to seek another delay. But the vote did not pass judgment on his deal.
Has he broken law?
No. On Saturday night Mr Johnson reluctantly complied with the law requiring him to send a letter to the EU asking for a three-month delay. But he did not sign it and sent two other letters making it clear he did not want another extension. Legal action against him for trying to ‘frustrate’ the law is likely. But the EU has said it considers Mr Johnson to have requested an extension, which it will now consider.
His next move?
The Prime Minister is expected to make a second attempt to hold a ‘Meaningful Vote’ tonight. Passing such a vote is required by law before Britain can leave the EU. There are fears it could be blocked by John Bercow under Commons conventions that state the same motion cannot be debated twice. Some Remainers fear if the vote passes, the PM could withdraw the letter to the EU requesting a delay. Such a move is likely to be frowned on by the courts.
One of the biggest parliamentary weeks in decades could determine the fate of Brexit. Political Editor JASON GROVES looks at what might happen
Has he got enough MPs to pass the deal?
Until a vote is held it is impossible to be sure. The majority of the 28 Tory ‘Spartans’ who rejected Theresa May’s deal have come on board, but a hardcore of half a dozen have yet to declare. A significant number of Labour MPs have also backed the deal, with more expected to follow. Mr Johnson’s former allies in the DUP are implacably opposed. It will be very tight.
Can Johnson still salvage his deal? Yes
What if the vote fails?
Downing Street has indicated the PM will press ahead with legislation tomorrow to pass his new deal into law via the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. In theory, the Government could then repeal the need for a ‘Meaningful Vote.’ But it is high risk because if the legislation is voted down then it cannot be brought back without starting a new session of Parliament.
Can Johnson win in time for October 31?
The PM has told EU leaders that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which ratifies the deal, could be passed in as little as six days. But opponents will try to amend the timetable tomorrow to delay final sign off until well after October 31 in the hope this persuades the EU to grant another delay.
Could MPs force a second referendum?
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said it was ‘inevitable’ that Labour and others would try to force a vote this week to require the Government to call a referendum on the deal. The DUP has indicated it could now back a new referendum. But two dozen Labour MPs oppose the idea, meaning a vote would be tight. No 10 has said it will not hold a second referendum. If so, the stand-off could only be resolved in an election.
What if the PM’s deal is voted down?
The Government would focus on preparing for a No Deal Brexit on October 31. Remainers hope the EU leaders would act to prevent No Deal by offering a delay of at least three months. Mr Johnson would then push hard to force an election.
Could No Deal still happen?
Yes. Remainers hope the EU will grant a further extension lasting at least three months. But several EU leaders, including Emmanuel Macron and Leo Varadkar, are frustrated. The French President has even hinted he could veto another extension. If this happened, and MPs had rejected the PM’s deal, then the UK would leave without a deal on October 31.